Meaningful participation of citizens in the implementation of Social Development Goals (SDGs) is a key to success. People must be recognized as agents of change, instead of beneficiaries, and real opportunities must be provided to facilitate their participation in this development process.

This is a rationale behind the latest initiative introduced by Nusa Tenggara Barat (NTB), an Indonesian province of almost 5 million populations. NTB is one of the 16 provinces covered under LOCALISE SDGs – Indonesia, a project implemented by UCLG ASPAC in partnership with the Association of Indonesia Municipalities (APEKSI), with the funding from the European Union (EU).

Apart from ensuring the alignment of local development with the national and global goals, NTB has focused on enhancing multi-stakeholder partnership and participatory approach, as a priority that cuts across the implementation of all 17 SDGs.

One of NTB’s key initiatives is the development of a mobile phone application called “SDGs NTB”, to engage with its citizens on a broad-range of SDGs-related topics. Apart from detailed information on the SDGs, targets and indicators, application users will gain regular updates on the SDGs implementation progress. These include sex-disaggregate data on populations, resident characteristics, sources of incomes and education level. The application also provides a channel for registered local government officials to contribute their data and inputs.

With this platform, NTB aims to raise people’s awareness on SDGs and foster their sense of ownership as well as active participation. The application will also contribute to the monitoring process, and could provide a reality check that is helpful for future policy and program development in various areas of local government services including public health, education, environment, micro finance, and micro enterprise.